Mention the words ‘Ethiopia’ and ‘architecture’ in the same breath and you’ll get one question: ‘do you know Rahel?’ Such is her standing in Addis Ababa that, like Madonna, she’s a first-name only phenomenon. A former Loeb Fellow at Harvard, she studied architecture in Addis Ababa, founding her own practice nearly twenty years ago. She worked on the world-renowned Dutch Embassy and South African Embassy in Addis, cementing life-long friendships with Bjarne and Dirk and Mphethi as a result. She’s created a second office-within-her-office, specifically to mentor young female architects who flock to her for her combination of humour, compassion and drive. On Thursday 4 October 2018, she wowed us with the same.
She’s the only member of her family who didn’t leave Ethiopia during the dictatorship.
She’s married to an architect (but ‘we don’t practice together’, she says, ‘thank goodness.’)
She won the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 2007.
She was named a ‘Phenomenal Ethiopian Woman Role Model’ in 2014.
She’s the person you want to sit next to at an awards dinner.